While he was on his bye-week vacation in California, Tommy Grady's mind was never far from his last game.
His memory lingered on the Utah Blaze's 72-57 loss to New Orleans, even though it was a forgettable game. The team was walloped by the Voodoo, giving up seven turnovers four on interceptions by Grady.
"A lot of it was miscommunication with my receivers," he said. "The receivers are doing good; I'm the one who has got to play better."
Coming off the bye at 2-2 and only third in its division, Utah finds itself in the unusual position of needing more from its offense.
In last season's nine losses, the Blaze defense was often the goat as the secondary held about as well as a sieve. It hasn't exactly been a banner season for the defense this year so far, but it's hard to stop opponents when the offense has given up five more turnovers than the defense has taken away.
Statistically, Utah's defense has been among the AFL's top squad in sacks and third-down stops. But Grady has thrown nine interceptions in only four games, and the Blaze have committed an AFL-worst 41 penalties, averaging almost 70 penalty yards a game.
The math hasn't added up well for Utah, particularly in the last contest.
"Without a doubt, that is the low point," coach Ron James said. "That's the only game we really underperformed. Our defense is light-years ahead of where it was last year, but our offense didn't look prepared last week."
The heat has been on in practice, as coaches have stressed pushing the tempo and being particularly crisp on plays leading into Friday's road game against defending ArenaBowl champ Jacksonville.
The Sharks are only 1-2, but Utah is wary of underestimating an opponent again. Wideout Ernie Pierce says practice was chippy this week as players started putting pride on the line.
"We're a bunch of grown men, so you would expect that," he said. "The last game was unsettling. We're not going to judge a team by their record anymore."
Blaze at Jacksonville
P Saturday, 6 p.m.
Radio • 97.5 FM/1280 AM
Online • Live stream at utblaze.com/live
Outlook • Utah (2-2) comes off a bye week trying to take a road game against the defending ArenaBowl champion Sharks (1-2).